A nine-year old canine whose future once looked bleak enjoyed a first class flight to Houston Tuesday afternoon, thanks to an enterprising Corpus Christi Animal Control Officer and a non-profit animal rescue network called “Pilots N Paws”.
The dog named “Gucci” arrived at the Corpus Christi Animal Shelter last Thursday when her owner surrendered her. Gucci’s owner was forced to make the difficult decision to surrender her when apartment management informed the pet’s owner that she was only allowed two pets; Gucci sadly became the odd dog out.
When Gucci tested positive for heartworms the next day, Animal Control Officer James Matt Ray realized that placing her for adoption would be difficult due to her age and health issues. Ray quickly went into action and found an animal rescue group called PugHearts of Houston that specializes in rescuing that particular breed. Ray contacted the group and they agreed to rescue Gucci, but there was still the problem of how to get her to Houston. Undaunted, Ray continued to search the internet and found “Pilots N Paws”, a non-profit website that serves as a meeting place for those who rescue, shelter or foster animals, and volunteer pilots willing to assist with the transportation of at-risk animals.
Pilots N Paws was founded in 2008 by animal-lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg. The idea first took flight when Jon agreed to help Debi by flying a rescued Doberman from Florida to South Carolina. The trip was a success and the two brainstormed on how to rescue other animals. As a result of their collaboration, the website, http://www.pilotsnpaws.org was soon launched. Today the organization has 3,168 pilot volunteers and 10,551 volunteers responsible for saving thousands of animals each year.
Through the website Officer Ray contacted Wade Roberts, a pilot from Pearland, Texas, who agreed to pick up Gucci and fly her back to Houston. ACO Ray met Roberts Tuesday morning at a small airport in Port Aransas and by 11:30 am Gucci was on her way to a new life in Houston-all thanks to a caring pilot and the Animal Control Officer who went beyond the call of duty to save her.